Do You Have the Right People in the Wrong Positions on Your Team?
|By Tom Borg|
Could you imagine a major league baseball team having six shortstops, two first basemen, two second basemen, three third basemen, two catchers, nine outfielders and one pitcher? What is wrong with this roster?
You caught it (pun implied). It’s the fact that they have too many shortstops and outfielders and only one pitcher. A team like this is out of balance. Due to its schedule of 162 games, it can’t expect to do very well with only one pitcher.
As ridiculous as that may sound, when it comes to having a balance of the right kind of team members, far too many businesses and organizations make the same mistake. In other words, they have the wrong balance of behavioral styles in the various positions within their organizations.
They have people who are good people, but their behavioral styles do not match the positions they hold in the organizations, or they don’t have the proper balance of behavioral styles within their companies.
A behavioral style is a personality characteristic that is prominent in a person’s pattern of interacting with other people. They can be categorized in the following four categories:
Dominant (D) – someone who is forceful, direct and results-oriented.
Influence (I) – someone who is optimistic, fun and talkative.
Steadiness (S) – someone who is steady, patient and relaxed.
Compliance (C) – someone who is precise, accurate and detail-oriented.
Most people may possess one to three characteristics in their style, but one is usually most dominant.
As you look around your company or department, you should be able to easily identify individuals who possess and are dominant in one or two of the above descriptors.
The key concept to remember is that your company needs a balanced representation of individuals who represent each of those four different behavioral styles.
For example, your president or chief executive officer should be someone who possesses the ability to be direct and results-oriented.
Your sales or customer-service team members should have a good measure of the Influence style to be able to communicate easily with others as part of their makeup.
Other team members whose job is to interact with customers should possess the characteristics of being steady and consistent in performing the duties of their position.
Your chief financial officer or your accounting person should be someone who possesses accuracy and is detail-oriented, as a major behavioral characteristic.
It’s hard to run a business if your sales personnel are not extroverts. If your finance person is not very detail-oriented, your company is headed for trouble. It will be difficult to be profitable if members of your order-fulfillment department team do not possess the ability to be steady and consistent. If your CEO or president is not able to say, “The buck stops here,” there are lots of problems headed your way.
In one particular company I worked with, the CIO was a very sharp individual. However, she was somewhat introverted. Oftentimes when she spoke, she was hesitant and unclear. Most of the time, her staff hesitated when asking for clarification. When someone would ask a question, or want her to communicate more clearly, it was met with an awkward response.
What this company needed was a vice president who could clearly and articulately communicate for this CIO. They needed somebody who regularly could close the loop on what needed to be communicated.
How about your company or organization? Do you have the right people in the right positions? Do you have individuals who are sharp people, but just might be in the wrong slot? They might be far better off in a position that matches their behavioral style to the job requirements.
Recently, I was asked to do some work with a luxury automobile dealership. The problem was, the general manager explained to me, that they had an individual who wasn’t performing very well in the position of showroom floor greeter. The general manager went on to tell me that they had invested a substantial amount of money in him, and he just didn’t seem to be able to deliver what they were hoping for.
When people walked into the dealership, they expected to be greeted by a friendly, extroverted and knowledgeable person. But what they experienced was a person who didn’t seem to like them. Instead, he was someone who seemed to be like a square peg in a round hole. This person just didn’t seem to fit into the role he was being paid to fulfill.
After extensively interviewing this person, I discovered that he was an extreme introvert, and someone who matched the description of a person who was compliant, precise and detail-oriented.
He explained to me that he didn’t like his job, and that what he really wanted to do was to work back in the finance section by himself. This would have been a position where he would have little contact with other people, much less the public. He could concentrate on doing his job with little interruption, and he would feel much more relaxed and calm.
I shared this discovery with the general manager, and she was puzzled. She asked, “How could this be? We spent all this money on training this individual to prepare him to interact with customers. He should be able to do that.”
I explained to the general manager that this person’s behavioral style prevented him from being able to perform to her expectations. All the training in the world would have made little difference. What the general manager struggled to comprehend was that the right training for the wrong person was not the solution.
They needed to start with the right type of person, who fit the behavioral style that the position demanded; then, be trained. I recommended that this individual be given the opportunity to work in finance.
Why not do an inventory of the people on your team? Ask yourself if the people you have in certain positions possess the behavioral characteristics that they need to do their jobs properly.
Do you have the proper balance of people on your team who possess the behavioral characteristics that balance out your company or organization as a whole? Or is it too top-heavy with one or two of the abovementioned behavioral styles? If you answered no to the first question and yes to the second question, your organization is probably experiencing a disproportionate amount of ineffectiveness and inefficiency.
If you would like an expert’s opinion on how your company measures up in this area, give me a call. I can provide a confidential assessment and give you the insights you need to take action, to make your company or organization the best that it can be.
So, make sure you have the right team members in the right positions and you won’t end up like our fictitious baseball squad, having the wrong mix of position players for their team.
EDITOR’S NOTE: Tom Borg is a team performance and customer-experience expert who works with small businesses and organizations in the green industry to improve customer acquisition and retention. To ask him a question or to hire Tom, contact him at: 734-404-5909 or firstname.lastname@example.org or www.tomborgconsulting.com.